Arthur Percy Sherwood
July 16, 1932 to December 8, 2018
Percy Sherwood, a long-serving Canadian diplomat, died on Saturday, December 8, 2018 in the palliative care unit at Victoria Hospital in London, Ont., following several years of declining physical health. He was 86.
Percy was born in Ottawa on July 16, 1932 to Captain Edson C. Sherwood and Kathleen Ruth Avery Sherwood. He was a grandson of Colonel Sir Percy Sherwood, former Chief Commissioner of the Dominion Police, the first federal police force in the country.
Percy attended The Grove, in Lakefield Ont. (now Lakefield College School) in his youth. He completed an undergraduate degree in French at Carleton University in 1955 and took additional courses at the University of Geneva in 1957. Percy went on to have a distinguished career in the public service that spanned over 30 years. He specialized in Canada-Middle East relations at the then-Department of External Affairs.
He lived much of his life abroad as a diplomat, often rubbing shoulders with world leaders and royalty. He represented his country in missions in Malaysia (1960 to 1961), Poland (1965 to 1966), the Netherlands (1966 to 1969), Pakistan (1973 to 1975), and the United States (1975 to 1979).
Percy’s deep understanding of diplomacy eventually led him to become the Ambassador of Canada to Iraq (1983 to 1986) and Jordan (1991 to 1992). He became close with King Hussein bin Talal of Jordan during his tenure as ambassador.
Percy’s legacy includes contributing to Canada’s diplomatic efforts in the coalition to exercise influence over Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait during the Gulf War in 1990 to 1991. He was also involved in the signing of the 1997 Ottawa Treaty, a convention that aims to eliminate the use of anti-personnel landmines. After retiring, Percy would continue to read The Globe and Mail every morning.
His siblings Sally, Michael and Penelope predeceased him. Percy leaves his “sweetheart” of 24 years, his wife Oddula; his loving sons, Ian (Kevin), Andrew (Evelyn), Ted (Toni) and Percy Jr.; and his grandchildren, Avery, Courtney, Colin and Ryan, whom he adored.
A memorial service will be held in the spring of 2019 at St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church in Ottawa. His ashes are to be interred in Ottawa’s Beechwood cemetery. Memorial contributions to the London Health Sciences Foundation would be appreciated.
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